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Not a Trivial Pursuit

February 23, 2005

Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. There was talent, let me tell you, and young people. What a pleasure it was listening to people who know — at least for a while — what they're about. It won't last long, of course, because when you're young you THINK you know and then you fall in love or get drafted or evicted or you win the lottery and you're thrown for a loop. One of the nice things about growing older is that at some point you're able to acknowledge that — as much as you plan — you can never really be sure about what's around the corner and that's not necessarily a bad thing. There's something to be said for mystery and intrigue and sometimes a person has to believe that things are going to work out for the best.

At least that's what I told Officer Peedy as we drove to the police station on Friday. I'm afraid the details leading up to my arrest aren't all that interesting, but it was enough excitement to keep me going for a while. The whole episode started several months ago when I was having coffee with my Bible study group and someone mentioned that Herb Gustafson had been told he'd have to sell his property. A developer had placed the Gustafson farm smack dab in the middle of a huge development and Herb was given a hefty check and four months to clear out and that was that. To my surprise, Herb rented an apartment and sold his tractor. He said things were different without Lily around and he didn't have it in him to put up a fight.

Now, that property has been in Herb's family since Abraham Lincoln was president and it seemed just plain wrong to let that developer show up with all his signs and bulldozers and men with shiny plastic hats without making a statement. So after the kids got on the bus Friday morning I drove over to Herb's farm and planted myself in the middle of the long dirt driveway with a big sign reading "HERB GUSTAFSON LIVES HERE." It felt good. It felt very good. Even after the three men in suits showed up looking all official and asking me questions. "Shame on you," I told them. "You should know better." And they left and it wasn't long before Officer Peedy came rolling along. I explained why I was there, how it was a real tragedy about Herb's land and how rivers aren't meant to be made into lakes the way they were planning. He was kind and everything but said I was trespassing and if I didn't leave he'd have to arrest me. Well you'll just have to arrest me then, I told him, and he did but said I could go without handcuffs since the station was less than a mile away.

We stopped by the house on the way so I could get my purse and a sweater, and I grabbed the Trivial Pursuit game on the way out, along with the coffeecake on the counter. Only one piece was missing and I figured Officer Peedy might enjoy some, which he did and so did Ralphie the janitor and Clarence the vet from across the street. When Mr. Sundberg called about six, we were in the middle of a game of Trivial Pursuit and Clarence said, "Aw, let's go another round," and I said sure and winked at Officer Peedy who told Mr. Sundberg I could be released anytime after nine. Mr. Sundberg has asked several times what on God's green earth I was thinkin'. I haven't come up with the right answer yet, apparently, but I do know that I still can't say I've spent a night in jail and I've got this feeling in my chest I haven't felt for a while now, and I rather like it.

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